Nothing. Goose Egg. Zero. These words sum up Ryan Arcidiacono’s shooting percentage for about 39 minutes and 50 seconds. However, he did have one point, coming off of a free throw in thanks to Kansas coach Bill Self getting a technical foul in the first half of the game. Other than that, Arcidiacono had no points. There were a number of other things not going Villanova’s way. The odds were stacked high against them. Arcidiacono was shooting 0 for 5 on the night, all from three point range. It was a game played at a neutral site, but despite the distance, thousands of Kansas fans made their way down. A majority of the fans belonged to the Jayhawks, and all you could hear were the “Let’s go Jayhawks” chants. Vegas and the various sports experts were on Kansas’ side. Even the announcers and broadcasters from NBC Sports Network were pro-Jayhawks. It felt as if though the greatness of Andrew Wiggins was mentioned almost every 30 seconds. During interview today before tip-off, Wiggins stated that he felt a lot better and was at 100% after battling the flu this week. The Kansas 11-2 run to start the game and the 0 for 7 shooting didn’t help Villanova either. However, this would be the night Villanova defied the odds.
For about the first seven minutes of the game, Kansas was in clear control. Fouls and missed shots were plaguing issues in the beginning. Daniel Ochefu was on the bench early because of foul trouble. Villanova just could not get a rhythm going. Eventually, a Darrun Hilliard three pointer and a JayVaughn Pinkston and-one started to bring Villanova back in the right direction. With 5:04 left, Villanova was able to fight back and tie the game at 19. Villanova would go on a 10-0 run that lasted about two and a half minutes, giving them separation. They would take a 29-22 lead into halftime.
The Wildcats would maintain their lead and even stretch it into double digits. Defensively, the press was effective and forced Kansas to turn the ball over 16 times. Villanova only shot for 34.6% for the game. Kansas wasn’t any better, shooting only 38.9%. It was even worse for the Jayhawks from long range, where they shot 2 for 11. However, the Jayhawks did not roll over. Ochefu would foul out, much to Coach Self’s delight. They continued to keep pushing forward and with 33 seconds left, the game was tied at 58. A free throw would put Kansas up by one. There was a scary moment for the Wildcats where they almost turned the ball over which would probably close the door to a chance of beating Kansas. Hilliard had the inbound pass to Arcidiacono, where he would score the clutch three point shot off of the catch-and-shoot play with 10.1 seconds left. In the ensuing possession, Kansas would miss their shot and James Bell grabbed the rebound. He would then sink the two foul shots, putting the game away permanently. Villanova won 63-59.
Dylan Ennis and Darrun Hilliard were the top scorers for Villanova, finishing with 14 points. Hilliard would also contribute 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. Ennis shot a perfect 3 for 3 from long range and also had 4 rebounds and 2 assists. JayVaughn Pinkston had 13 points and 7 rebounds. Bell had 10 points and 4 rebounds in tonight’s win.
For Kansas, Frank Mason was the top scorer, adding 12 points off of the bench. Right behind Mason was Perry Ellis, who had 11 points and 4 rebounds. Andrew Wiggins had 10 points and 3 rebounds on the night, but had 4 turnovers. Freshman big man Joel Embiid also had 10 points and 5 rebounds, before fouling out.